By Robert Haile
Red Bull ran a perfect tactical race to enable Max Verstappen to extend his lead in the championship with victory from tenth.
After yesterday’s qualifying session Red Bull needed to produce something as Verstappen made the top ten but had issues and Sergio Perez missed out in eleventh.
Race winner and championship leader Verstappen said: “It feels crazy to have won the race today from P10, especially on a track like this where it’s very hard to pass.
“We made all the right calls today, there were some good undercuts and overall we did a great job today as a team.
“This was definitely one of my best races, despite the little 360-degree spin. I’m very happy with the lead that we have, but ,of course, we have to keep pushing and win more races.”
At the start Mercedes’ George Russell held off the charge from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as Verstappen gained two places as the Virtual Safety Car came out as Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo came together along with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams Alex Albon.
Virtual Safety Car withdrawn Russell sped off with Sainz giving chase as Verstappen started to challenge the Apline duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
By lap 7 Verstappen passed both and was now on his way to take on Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton both closed in on McLaren’s Lando Norris and passed him on lap 12.
As the pit stops started on lap 16 with Russell and Verstappen coming in with Sainz a lap later as the rest of the leading group staying out until lap 22 with Hamilton coming in and Verstappen completed an undercut as Russell retook the lead as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc pitted.
At the half way point Leclerc’s hunt of Russell concluded with the Ferrari passing the Mercedes on lap 31.
Verstappen and Red Bull forced the issue pitting on lap 39 with Leclerc and Russell coming in a lap later to try and cover the move but Russell lost out.
Working out to perfection Verstappen had the position to take the lead overall as Sainz and Hamilton still needed to pit again.
Sainz pitted on lap 48 but a slow stop brought him out ahead of Perez in fifth and Hamilton came in on 52 as Russell turned up the heat on Leclerc to take second as Verstappen took the lead.
Hamilton set off on one and soon took Sainz and closed in on teammate Russell and took another place.
Late drama as Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas reported loss of power and a Virtual Safety Car slowed the race but caused no issues to the leaders.
Verstappen won and extended his lead in the championship with Mercedes’ Hamilton and Russell both on the podium in second and third.
Sainz took fourth, Perez held onto fifth as Leclerc ended up in sixth as McLaren’s Lando Norris was the last of the un-lapped in seventh.
Alonso pipped Ocon to eighth as Vettel took the last point in tenth ahead of teammate Lance Stroll.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly finished twelfth, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu took thirteenth, Haas’ Mick Schumacher came home in fourteenth as Ricciardo dropped to fifteenth.
Magnussen took sixteenth ahead of Williams duo of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished last.
Formula One’s heads off into the summer break with the teams getting ready for the Belgium Grand Prix on August 26-28.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 258
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 178
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 173
- George Russell (Mercedes) – 158
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 156
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 146
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 76
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 58
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 46
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 41
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 22
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 19
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 16
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 16
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 12
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 11
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 5
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 4
- Alex Albon (Williams) – 3
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
- Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0
- Red Bull – 431
- Ferrari – 334
- Mercedes – 304
- Alpine – 99
- McLaren – 95
- Alfa Romeo – 51
- Haas – 34
- AlphaTauri – 27
- Aston Martin – 20
- Williams – 3